Don’t Waste Your Twenties

What are a man’s 30’s like? For most American men, these two posts cover it:

If you’re in your 20’s, those rules should put the fear of God into you. If you’re in your 30’s, hopefully you’ll think, “Yeah, that sounds like most guys I know, but not me.”

I’m well into my 30’s and haven’t started slowing down. The only difference I’ve noticed is a lack of brilliance. In my 20’s, older guys always said, “He’s brilliant.” And I was.

Today I’m still a smart guy, but my raw processing speed has slowed down. I used to be able to process an entire menu in about 5 seconds. Now I read each item line-by-line.

Talking to me used to be like running wind sprints. Now it’s like talking a relaxing stroll. There is nothing I can do about this:

A new study indicates that some aspects of peoples’ cognitive skills — such as the ability to make rapid comparisons, remember unrelated information and detect relationships — peak at about the age of 22, and then begin a slow decline starting around age 27.

Luckily I spent my 20’s head deep in books. Although my brain isn’t as quick as it was, it’s full of knowledge and wisdom – what cognitive scientists call crystallized intelligence.

20 tips for being 20

Crystallized intelligence peaks in your 50’s.

In the meantime, make use of your 20’s. Your brains are fast. You won’t realize how fast until they slow down.

Even if your job is demanding, you should be finishing two books each month. Although non-fiction is superior to fiction, reading something is better than nothing. Do not let the best be the enemy of the good.

Here are a few good titles:

You should also be mega-dosing fish oil – as in 4-10 grams a day. Fish oil is cheap. Take it all at once or spread out. Just take it.

Fish oil will help prevent the “tendinitis” the thirty-something blogger complains of. Fish oil also mitigates depression and helps stave off Alzheimer’s. It improves blood flow throughout the entire body.

Every man should be on fish oil. This is the brand I use.

If you’re in your twenties, prepare yourself for your thirties. Read widely, think deeply, and pop fish oil like candy, and you’ll mitigate and often avoid the worst parts of your thirties.

  • Jason

    “The 30+ male who is not married/doesn’t have kids pretends not to care. He claims how much he loves the single life, but in the back of his head, he wants to be whipped/tired/have no life just like all of his married friends.”

    What a joke. Thanks for the tips and reading list, D&P. Glad you’re back to regular blogging.


    26 year old male

  • Rob

    Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Archetype Alpha.

    The human body is amazing. I’m 30. I misspent the first 6 years of my twenties engaging in very reckless activities. But the last 4 years I’ve eaten well, lifted weights, and slept a lot. Now most people think I’m 25. I’m 6′ 2” and 185lbs. I can Bench 250, Squat 330 and Dead Lift 425.

    I imagine it’s difficult for people who’ve spent the majority of their lives trying to “fit in” to embrace the idea that societal norms aren’t the end all be all. That’s the hardest part for most. Coming face to face with desperation is the best remedial medicine you can take.

  • Gannicus

    As I am about to turn 31, reading that rules of being 30+ was alternately hilarious and scary as shit. I’ve got to consciously avoid becoming that guy. Luckily I think I’m doing ok in that department.

    When I was in my mid 20s I was very afraid to turn 30. I thought it would be the end of the world. But now I have my MBA and am getting my career figured out, making more money than I have at any time in my life. I’ve figured out what I want out of life and what’s important to me, and what sacrifices I will need to make to achieve that. I’ve lifted weights since I was about 15, but was always chunky and at times fat. In the past year and a half I’ve changed my diet completely and lost a bunch of fat. Now I wear waist size 34 pants for the first time since junior high, and the fat is still coming off.

    All this has helped me for the first time in my life feel like I’m the prize that women should be chasing and appreciating. So I think my 30s will be a pretty good decade.

  • Andrew Medina

    Thanks for the tip about fish oil. I’m 26 and I didn’t know I should already be on that. Fortunately Shitty Day Job is at a drugstore so I get that stuff on the cheap.

  • Robert

    Most of these rules are garbage and it encourages men in their thirties to settle and not live up to their full potential. There is a reason why several of the best UFC fighters are in their thirties. I’m in nearly every way better than than I was in my twenties (maybe because I was out of shape and less confident) and pull more ass in the last three years than during my entire twenties. If you are in your thirties and think that you don’t have a chance to improve your game or that you have to settle, don’t take these rules to heart. Or taken them as motivation to seriously improve yourself.

  • Aaron

    I would modify the reading list in two ways:

    1) Something Happened by Joseph Heller I enjoyed more than Catch-22, and it further serves the pertinent purpose here of scaring the shit out of you before approaching your forties.

    2) Nichomachean Ethics will be impenetrable to anyone who hasn’t studied philosophy. I would go instead for Rosalind Hursthouse’s On Virtue Ethics, then perhaps progress to NE if enthusiasm permits.

  • dickbutt

    i take cod liver oil. where does your fish oil come from? the scales of the fish? the whole of the fish? is there a difference? plz explain man

  • Bronan the Barbarian!

    I just picked up “What EveryBODY is Saying.” I’m like a chapter in so far, but I’ve already learned quite a bit.

    Great article as always. I’m closing in on 30 and stuff like this is good to know.

  • Badger

    That part about declining cognitive ability put the fear of God into me, almost as much as the time I had a false scare when a moronic doctor speculated I might be infertile (was given a clean bill of spermic health by another doc who savaged the first guy).

    I’ve been taking fish oil for going on 15 months now – it’s made a HUGE difference and I’m upping from 2 to 4g! Just recommended it to a friend today AAMOF. Plus eating paleo and working out hardcore, I feel as good physically as anytime since college.

    I have this interesting vibe going on where younger people think I’m younger than I am b/c of my energy, and older people think I’m learned and wise and thus older.

  • Bj

    “Even if your job is demanding, you should be finishing two books each month. Although non-fiction is superior to fiction, reading something is better than nothing. Do not let the best be the enemy of the good.”

    man, not only is my job demanding but I’m also a student with a shit ton of work. i don’t even have time to keep up with the few blogs i read. i wish i had time to read everything i can get my hands on, its just too much…..

  • andy

    Just turned 20. Could you write another piece about what you would have done differently in you 20s, were you to relieve them? How would you go about it knowing what you now know?

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